First listed on: 25 June 2020

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship linking Indigenous Botanical Knowledge with Western Science

The Opportunity
  • Are you a motivated, early career scientist with interest in linking Indigenous botanical knowledge with western science?
  • Do you have, or will shortly obtain a PhD in a relevant discipline area such as Indigenous languages?
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people are strongly encouraged to apply

CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have less than three years relevant postdoctoral work experience.  These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future leaders of the innovation system.

The Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research (CANBR) is seeking a highly motivated researcher to work with Aboriginal communities to co-develop pathways that will link Indigenous botanical knowledge with western plant species concepts using specimens held within CSIRO’s National Research Collections Australia as a test bed.

Your duties will include:

Under the direction of senior research scientists and engineers, CERC Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Carry out innovative, impactful research of strategic importance to CSIRO that will, where possible, lead to novel and important scientific outcomes.
  • Understand the intersection between Indigenous knowledge systems and western species concepts and then use this information to co-develop methodologies with Aboriginal communities to explicitly link these within a trusted environment. This will include co-developing in-field acquisition of traditional (e.g. specimen) and digital data (e.g. image, sound, physical) protocols.
  • Work with Aboriginal communities as well as digital data and curation teams to co-develop protocols to ensure that data are able to respond to change (e.g. western species name changes) as well as ensuring that data visibility and access is compliant with the wishes of Aboriginal communities.
  • Undertake regular reviews of relevant literature and produce high quality scientific papers for publication in quality journals, client reports and conference papers as agreed with your supervisor.

Location: Black Mountain, ACT
Salary: AU$86k - AU$94k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 67701

To be considered you will need:

Essential Criteria:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area such as Indigenous languages or other research that has involved working with Aboriginal communities to secure Indigenous knowledge and/or plant sciences such as botany, systematics and taxonomy.
    Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • Demonstrated understanding of issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities and the ability to collaborate and engage respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • The ability to work effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary, regionally dispersed research team, plus the motivation and discipline to carry out autonomous research.
  • A record of science innovation and creativity, plus the ability & willingness to incorporate novel ideas and approaches into scientific investigations.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Desire to co-develop projects with Aboriginal communities that will be of benefit to current and future generations.
  • Experience working autonomously in remote locations.
  • An understanding of naming conventions under the International Code for algae, fungi and plants

For full details about this role please review the Position Description

  • To be appointed to this role, you need to demonstrate willingness and ability to spend more than 30 working days per year working with Aboriginal communities in regional and remote locations. You may also be required to provide a cultural referee who can attest to your ability to work respectfully with Indigenous communities.
  • This role has child safety obligations. Accordingly, the successful candidate will be required to obtain or provide evidence that they hold a working with children check prior to confirmation of appointment.
  • The successful candidate will be required to obtain and provide evidence of a National Police Check or equivalent.
  • Applicants must be Australian/New Zealand citizens, Australian permanent residents and be able to commence in the role by December 2020/January 2021.
Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. Talk to us about how this role could be flexible for you. Balance

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit diverse people and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people.


At CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

Monday 17 August 2020, 11:00pm AEST/AEDT

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